Jonny Bairstow has grabbed his chances gleefully with both hands so far. The destructive right-handed batsman, who often doubles up as a wicketkeeper had a fantastic outing in South Africa as England’s first choice wicketkeeper. After a string of poor scores and dismal outings, regular wicketkeeper Jos Buttler was axed for Bairstow.
A counterattacking ton at Cape Town against South Africa definitely helped him cement his spot as England’s first choice wicketkeeper. At a recent event, former England wicketkeeper and three-time Ashes winner Matt Prior fully backed Bairstow to be England’s wicketkeeper. Prior was of the view that Bairstow should be retained as the keeper keeping in mind the long-term prospects.
“You have one guy who is scoring a lot of runs but has made a few mistakes behind the stumps and one guy whose glovework had gone up a huge amount but wasn’t scoring the runs,” Prior said. “Jonny is the man in possession, he did well in South Africa with the bat and he’s had time to go away and work on the things with his wicketkeeping.”
Prior added that Bairstow had cautiously worked on the technical aspects of his wicketkeeping. “I think this period has been quite good for Jonny, he’s been out of the shop window, and he’s been able to go to the training ground and work hard. It’s very hard to make huge improvements while playing Test cricket, with so much scrutiny, 26 cameras on you, super slo-mo. I’m sure he’s used that time well to go away and work on areas, he’s a hugely determined guy and very resilient as well.”
Prior concluded by saying that he is always ready to mentor the likes of Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow. “I’ve spoken to both of them at different points, Jos when he was in Sri Lanka and I spoke to Jonny when he was in South Africa, and it’s quite interesting being able to look in from the outside – things sometimes look a bit clearer than when you are in the fog and haze of the England bubble. They both know that I’m here if they want advice at any time.”